Photos courtesy of Greenfire Management Services
Milwaukee’s Millennial-centered Stitchweld complex contains far more than your typical apartment complex. There’s an indoor community room, fitness center and a dog park and beer garden outside, just for starters.
The project, owned by Milhaus Management, designed by Engberg Anderson Architects and built by Greenfire Management Services, blends these modern features with a sense of the site’s industrial past. The 291-unit apartment complex takes its name from a welding technique — hearkening back to when the site was the home of the mining-equipment manufacturer Harnischfeger Industries.
But the redevelopment of the former manufacturing site didn’t come without difficulties. The project team assumed the site could contain some environmental damage from decades of industrial use. So project leaders performed site testing to discover the extent of the pollution.
The test results, though, didn’t come in until after the developers had had to make a few big decisions.
In keeping with a community development plan for the neighborhood, Meier said the project team tried to incorporate various historic components from existing buildings at the site into the new apartment complex. Greenfire and other project officials walked through the former industrial buildings to identify which features could be used in the new structure.
“The development team and the design team always had the desire to make sure the history of the site was evident once they were even done with the development,” Meier said. “It was important to make sure that the historical significance could still be seen once the development was completed.”
The project team was able to salvage an old building’s steel frame and re-use it as a pergola covering an area outside the apartment complex. Greenfire also salvaged brick walls and other features and used them to accent the complex’s modern aesthetic.
The Stitchweld project was built in phases, too, which meant that crews completed some buildings before others and had to plan carefully to accommodate the tenants of recently completed buildings.
“You’re building in an active environment where you’ve got residents living where construction is taking place,” Meier said.
The finished project has various features meant to appeal to young professionals. There’s a caterer’s kitchen inside, as well as a workshop and a fitness room. Outdoors, there’s a dog park on-site and a pet spa, with a beer garden and areas for tenants to grill out.
Meier said after the project was finished, the owner hired Greenfire for its next development in Milwaukee. That decision, he said, was taken by the team as an endorsement of its work.
“I would view it as a very successful project,” Meier said. “The project was delivered under budget on schedule.”